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Coalition Government is victim of own success

22 July 2002

SPEECH

Jim Anderton MP

Leader of the Progressive Coalition

Coalition Government is victim of own success

7:00 pm

Monday, 22 July 2002

Meeting in Northcote

Zion Hill Methodist Church,

Corner Birkenhead Ave and Onewa Rd

This has been an unusual election campaign.

It might be because it’s an early election.

It could be because it’s winter.

It may be because the election is set against a backdrop of threats and division.

However I believe that one of the most important factors has been that New Zealanders are feeling good.

The mood is more hopeful and positive than it has been in many years.

At the last election jobs were a major issue.

Jobs were an issue because we didn’t have enough of them and unemployment was high.

There was a strong concern that nothing was being done about health and education.

Many felt that the government and MPs weren’t listening.

The most recent experience in the first MMP term was when Winston Peters betrayed those who voted them and went into coalition with National.

In this term things have been different.

This government has provided economic security and some certainty while the economy has steadily improved.

The outlook in the 2002 Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Update shows a robust economy with growth averaging around three per cent over the next four years, unemployment remaining low, employment increasing steadily and wages growing ahead of inflation.

The government has re-engaged in the economy as a partner.

Regions are now working together to develop their strengths.

Our regions are booming, all of them are in positive growth mode and many are growing at over four per cent per year.

We have created a new job every 12 and a half minutes over the last two years.

There are 104,000 more jobs in New Zealand now than there were three years ago.

Industries are working with the Coalition Government to remove barriers to growth.

There are 12 major industry strategies underway.

We have invested $3 billion into primary health over four years.

Most hospital waiting lists are shorter.

The economy is stronger.

Real interest rates are lower.

Confidence is high.

Social services are being rebuilt.

There are fewer people living in poverty.

There are fewer who cannot find a home in which to live.

Student fees have effectively fallen.

Our natural environment is cleaner and its future a little more secure.

Communities are safer.

I think the reason this election has been so unusual is that the Government is a victim of its own success.

New Zealanders feel like things are on the right track, so many are relaxed about who they vote for.

Many feel the current Coalition Government will get in regardless. so they might vote for something else.

This isn’t really how it works.

Under MMP you get what you vote for.

People can vote for the array of smaller opposition parties.

If you want the next Government brought down early, you can vote Green.

The Greens have tried to hold the country to ransom with stories of GE that don’t bear scientific scrutiny.

If New Zealanders vote for threats, and paranoid fear and more social division that’s what we will have.

ACT, National and New Zealand First have tried to hinge their campaigns on scaring people about crime, and about immigration.

They want a society with high fences, private security guards, and armed police.

A vote for Winston is a vote for the chaos of 1996.

A vote for United could be a vote for National, ACT or even New Zealand First.

The number of immigrants is not the problem at all.

The issue is investing in our infrastructure and building stronger jobs and businesses so we can fund our social services.

This Saturday people will get what they vote for.

If New Zealanders want the successful Coalition Government they have had for two and a half years to continue they need to vote for the Progressive Coalition.

In coalition with Labour we have forged the best government New Zealand has had in 27 years.

We are promising things we know New Zealanders want:

- Everyone under 20 in jobs, education or training by 2005, as a step towards full employment.

- We will keep student fees and interest rates frozen and progressively remove fees for first year students, as a step towards free education.

- We will introduce Free GP visits for all school-aged children.

- the following year we will introduce free GPs visits for the elderly.

- We will put in place early intervention programmes designed to turn young people away from a life of crime and to reduce re-offending, as a step towards safer and stronger communities.

- We will implement an anti-drugs strategy, with special penalties for supplying drugs to children, strengthened rehabilitation and “drug-free’ campaigns.

- And we will introduce a winter energy rebate of $15 a month for superannuitants, beneficiaries and low income earners.

These policies can be achieved in a coalition, in the same way that, the Ministry of Economic, Regional and Industry Development, the Kiwibank and Paid Parental Leave were achieved in our first term.

The truth is we have only just begun to rebuild New Zealand.

This election is quite simply about whether we continue to build.

Or whether we throw it away.

The choices are stark.

- Turn back to the past with National/ACT/United /New Zealand First

- Refuse to face and meet the challenges of the future and hold the country to ransom like the Greens

I believe it is still possible that the Progressive Coalition can get 5 to 6 seats - but that needs you, and all New Zealanders, to make a simple choice.

A Party vote of 1.21% for the Progressive Coalition will achieve 2 MPs - 2.02 per cent equals 3 MPs, 2.83 equals 4 and 3.6 will deliver 5 seats and 4.31 per cent 6. That is the minimum I hope for, and the minimum we will need to really make a difference.

If this Coalition Government is returned we can continue what we have set out to do.

We can build the sort of country we want.

There is much to be done.

This Coalition Government has made progress look easy and has reassured New Zealanders that we can take New Zealand to the top of the OECD again.

We can have full employment, a booming economy and free health and education.

During the last two and a half years I have traveled up and down New Zealand.

Wherever I go I find innovation and creativity in businesses and incredible things happening.

The New Zealand I see us building accepts and involves all our cultures as we work together to create stronger businesses and jobs.

A stronger economy will allow us to build better health and education systems.

We want a society where all New Zealanders can participate.

We want a New Zealand we are all proud of.

A place where people are safe in their houses and there is security and opportunity for all our citizens.

That place is only a few years away.

It is somewhere we can get to if we make good on the start we have made.

New Zealand will elect a government on Saturday.

I would urge New Zealanders who want the progress to continue to give the Progressive Coalition your party vote.

We can achieve a lot.

But we need your support.

And on Saturday - we need your party vote.


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